top of page

When The King Considered Recording "I Will Always Love You": An Interview with Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty; AP

In a candid interview with renowned journalist Dan Rather, country music legend Dolly Parton reveals an intriguing and little-known chapter in music history. She shares how the iconic song "I Will Always Love You" nearly found its way into the legendary Elvis Presley's discography. This behind-the-scenes revelation sheds light on the power struggles in the music industry and showcases Dolly's determination to protect her creative rights.

The Invitation: Dolly Parton recalls the time when she received a special invitation from Elvis Presley himself. The King of Rock and Roll had expressed his desire to record her heartfelt ballad, "I Will Always Love You." Excitement and honor washed over her as she eagerly accepted the invitation to attend the recording session.

However, just a day before the scheduled recording session, Dolly received an unexpected phone call from Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis's notorious manager. The Colonel informed her that Elvis intended to record her song, but with a condition - he demanded the publishing rights, if not half, of the song. This would have meant a significant financial loss for Dolly and could jeopardize her creative control over the cherished piece.

Dolly knew that "I Will Always Love You" had the potential to become one of her most important copyrights, and she was determined to protect her legacy and the future of her family. Reluctantly, she realized that surrendering the publishing rights to Elvis would not be in her best interest. It was a difficult decision, but she chose to prioritize her creative freedom over the opportunity to have the King of Rock and Roll record her song.

Due to the impasse over publishing rights, Elvis Presley ultimately never recorded "I Will Always Love You." The collaboration that could have been did not materialize, leaving fans to wonder what a heartfelt rendition by the King himself would have sounded like. Instead, the song remained in Dolly Parton's repertoire, becoming one of her signature pieces.

Over the years, "I Will Always Love You" continued to touch hearts worldwide. Dolly Parton's emotive performances of the song, both in its original 1974 version and the 1982 re-recording for "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" soundtrack, solidified its place in music history. However, the song's enduring legacy took an extraordinary turn when another legendary artist, Whitney Houston, delivered a jaw-dropping rendition for the soundtrack of "The Bodyguard" in 1992.

Dolly's unwavering commitment to safeguarding her creative control and the future of her family's legacy turned out to be a pivotal moment in music history. Today, "I Will Always Love You" stands as a testament to Dolly Parton's resilience and artistic integrity, reminding us that sometimes the most significant decisions are the ones that we choose not to make.

Watch the TikTok of the interview below:


Does your organization or artist have something to promote?
Submit to us at

bottom of page